Archive for Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Applicant pool deep for city manager

Commission hopes to fill position by early October

August 29, 2006


Twenty-five people want to become Lawrence's next city manager, and city commissioners say they are still hopeful they'll find the right person by early October.

The deadline for people to apply to become the city's next top executive was 5 p.m. Friday. The city's management search firm gathered the submitted applications Monday morning and reported that 25 people had met the deadline. Names of the applicants were not released.

"We're very fortunate that we've had a lot of interest in the job," said Mayor Mike Amyx. "But I expected that. Lawrence is a great community, and I think there are a lot of people who would like to be our city manager. I think it shows that we're a strong city."

City commissioners are scheduled to conduct an executive session Sept. 7 with members of Bennett Yarger Associates, the city's Massachusetts-based consulting firm. Commissioners may narrow the list of applicants to five or six finalists at that meeting.

Interviews with the finalists - which commissioners have said would likely take place in person and in Lawrence - could be conducted in the third or fourth week of September. Amyx said he then hoped the commission would be in a position to make a job offer in the first week of October.

City Commissioner Sue Hack said she was pleased with the interest the job opening had created.

"I think there has been a lot of interest in the job and in the community," Hack said. "It has its challenges, but if you are brave enough to be a city manager, you know that there are going to be challenges. That is probably why you go into the profession."

Commissioners have been seeking a new city manager since Mike Wildgen was asked by a majority of commissioners to resign in early March following concerns the city had not done an adequate job planning for growth and maintaining infrastructure. Wildgen had been the city's top non-elected official for 16 years.

Assistant City Manager David Corliss is the interim city manager. Corliss - who joined the city in 1990 and also runs the city's legal services department - confirmed Monday he was among those who applied to become the new city manager.

The city manager search has delayed the filling of two other top-level city positions. City commissioners have said they wanted to wait until a new city manager was hired before they filled the positions of planning director and director of utilities. The planning director position has been vacant since Linda Finger resigned at the beginning of the year. The utility position, which oversees the city's water and sewer operations, has been vacant since September when Roger Coffey retired. Both the planning and utility posts are being filled by staff members on an interim basis.


lunacydetector 11 years, 3 months ago

i think it would be in the best interest of lawrencians to actually see the applicant names. that isn't too much to ask is it? there isn't any reason for lawrence to keep secrets is there? a city manager post outweighs any privacy interest they might have and should be disclosed.

after all, when orem, utah, received 157 applicants for their city manager job and narrowed the field to 4 finalists, a judge ordered that city to release the names of those applicants, something about the Governmental Records Access and Management Act of 1991....but maybe that applied to utah only.

stbaker 11 years, 3 months ago

Can someone clarify the purpose of Bennet Yarger Associates? Surely in the city of lawrence, home of the University of Kansas and numerous successful businesspersons there are enough qualified, honest people to aide with the selection of a city manager?

prioress 11 years, 3 months ago

Outside search firms are not uncommon. Done well, it eliminates some of the suspicions about who is hired and who is not. As the comments above suggest, people are naturally suspicious. Revealing all names of persons who apply to all such positions generally has one effect........reducing the quality of the applicant pool.

lunacydetector 11 years, 3 months ago

why should it hurt revealing the names now, prioress? lawrence already has the applicants and the deadline to submit an application is over. plus, the above case law should apply shouldn't it?

the bottom line: why have the secrecy?

prioress 11 years, 3 months ago

Solomon: You are as wise are your name implies. Not everyone wants their current boss to know they are job hunting, and I suspect many of the people who are griping here have been in similar situations. Personnel files and applications are private. Until the governing body actually begins interviewing finalists, it's considered good form to preserve the privacy rights of all applicants in positions such as this one.

lunacydetector 11 years, 3 months ago

...but i thought our local leaders are all about 'openess' and being 'open' about everything.

it's just like the iraq war and all the secrets our press keeps printing. nobody on the left seems to care if it gets people killed. why should anyone on the left seem to care if someone loses their job?

sorry for the set up but i couldn't resist.

Kontum1972 11 years, 3 months ago the established norm in this country....your doing "one heck of a job Bushy....."

Kontum1972 11 years, 3 months ago

with Mike gone...Dave misses driving around in a City vehicle on Sunday afternoons w/o Mike....hurry up and select someone....Bah Humbug...!

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